Vernal Equinox

American Kestrel

American Kestrel

Because we live in a rural setting, Leonard and I find ourselves intimately aware of the cyclic nature of the seasons. Each season, in turn, brings its own fluctuations, which we anticipate and often document.

At this time of the vernal equinox the sandhill cranes, vultures, and osprey are among the birds back from their winter in milder climates. The tundra swans have left for their northern breeding grounds. Any day the snow geese and rough-legged hawks should join the swans on their spring migration. Although only a few buttercups, daggerpods and violets are in bloom, it will not be long before the  early wildflowers erupt in a riot of color. The turgid tree buds will soon be tender green leaves. Each day brings new, annually repetitive changes.

This winter the number of American kestrels (Falco sparverius), year-round residents, seemed to be significantly smaller than in most years. We did not see any sign of the kestrel pair that raises a brood in our hay shed each year. See “American Kestrels 2013“, “Young Kestrels” (2012)  and “American Kestrels (2011). Leonard and I were concerned that perhaps something had happened to them. Yesterday we noticed a kestrel pair sitting on the ridgepole and hay trolly of the barn – where they often sit when not in the equipment shed where they have a nest. The kestrels are flying back and forth between the equipment shed and their barn roosts. It appears as though we will again have a kestrel family to enjoy this summer. The cycle continues.

This kestrel is one of the pair that is currently considering the equipment shed nesting site. It is sitting on the hay trolly atop our barn (Lookout CA).

Let’s see, still to return are the kingbirds, Northern orioles, Swainson’s hawks, night hawks. . . . . .

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